The Center for Security Policy on Monday joined the Institut pour la Defense de la Democratie in co-hosting a day-long international conference on the topic of “Les Democraties Face au Defi Islamiste” (Democracies in the Face of Islamist Confrontation). The conference brought together a number of courageous anti-Islamist Muslims and a variety of security policy practitioners, journalists and experts from Europe and North America to discuss the threat posed by the totalitarian ideological movement known as Islamofascism, and its implications for the Free World.
The program was hosted by the mayor of Paris’ 3rd Arondisement, the Hon. Pierre Aidenbaum, who personally welcomed the participants and encouraged their discussion of this topic – one made all the more urgent in light of the recent, destructive riots in the French capital and elsewhere in the country during the Fall of 2005 and violent manifestations of rising anti-semitism in Western Europe.
The conference addressed the broad topic of the nature and manifestations of Islamofascism in Europe and elsewhere. It then delved more specifically into this movement’s ominous implications for France including: its growing and destructive influence on the public education system, government policies and institutions, the economy and France ‘s tradition of secularism.
The panels were moderated by two prominent French journalists: Alexis Lacroix – the editor of the ‘Debats et Opinions’ (Debates and Opinions) page of the French newspaper, Figaro; and Daniel Leconte – a producer of the debate section, “De Quoi J’me Mele” for the French publication, Arte.
The panelists included several moderate Muslims who described their respective efforts to counter the assault on their religion being mounted by Islamofascist organizations in and outside of Europe and their state-sponsors – notably, Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states such as the United Arab Emirates , and Iran :
Rashid Kaci – A French Muslim politician and leader of a faction within the ruling Gaullist UMP party. Mr. Caci emphasized, as did many other speakers, the necessity of differentiating between the Muslim faith and political Islamism.
Samia Labidi – A native of Tunisia , Ms. Labidi heads a group of moderate Muslims called AIME which carries out anti-Islamist organizational activities in North Africa and France . She is an expert on the opposition to extremism by Muslim women’s groups. Her presentation underscored the characteristics of suburban French Muslims, which prime them for participating in radical Islamic factions at home and abroad.
Professor Salim Mansur – Professor Mansur is a Muslim scholar of Indian origin at Western Ontario University . He is a syndicated columnist in Canada and UK . Professor Mansur stressed the global need for moderate Muslims to speak out against the Islamofascists.
Kebir Jbil – President of the Union des Families Laiques of Strasbourg, and former President of the Mouvement des Maghrebins Laics de France. Mr. Jbil depicted France as the model of political secularism, and described the ways in which Islamist forces are seeking to undermine this historical and integral feature of modern French society. In addition, he insisted on the role of some extreme leftist movements in relaying the Islamist’s rhetoric (such as, Islamophobia).
In addition to the program’s impressive anti-Islamist Muslim participants, the panels featured remarks by:
Nelly Sayagh – President of l’Institute pour la Defense de la Democratie, an organization that has played a catalytic role in informing and shaping French public opinion about the rising danger posed by Islamofascism. Ms. Sayagh welcoming remarks underscored the necessity to confront the threat of the Islamofascist offensive on the democracies’ homefront battlefields far removed from those where the war is being literally fought.
Alex Alexiev – Vice-President of the Center for Security Policy and a specialist in activities relating to global Islamofascism. In his keynote address, Mr. Alexiev provided an overview of the demographic and political trends that cause Islamofascism to constitute such a menace in Western Europe.
Mattias Kuntzel – Professor of political science at the University of Hamburg, a specialist in Islamism seen through the historical lens of similar ideologies, such as communism and Nazism. Prof. Kuntzel noted the strong parallels between Islamofascism and its totalitarian predecessors.
Joel Fishman – Historian and researcher with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Mr. Fishman addressed the necessity of Europeans as secular democratic nations to confront the religious war championed by militant Islam.
Frank Gaffney – President and founder of the Center for Security Policy. Mr. Gaffney examined the lessons of trying to appease Islamofascists by considering the case of Turkey, where the Islamist regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to enjoy friendly relations with and accommodation from the U.S. and European democracies, even as it relentlessly works to snuff out that country’s traditions of secularism, tolerance and pro-Western foreign policies.
Claude Moniquet – President of European Strategic and Security Service Center in Belgium . Mr. Moniquet explained the role of the Muslim Brotherhood brothers in the worldwide demonstrations against the caricatures published by the Danish newspaper Jylland Posten.
Michele Vianes – President of Regards de Femmes, author of multiple books on the role of Islamofascism in the domain of the female. Ms. Vianes discussed the need for the people to speak out against the Islamofascists, rather than Muslim scholars.
Christophe Deloire – A prominent journalist with the French newspaper, Le Point. Mr. Deloire defended the moderate Muslims who practice in good faith their religion.
The conference featured extensive, and often quite animated, exchanges between panelists and with the audience comprised of roughly 100 journalists for major European newspapers, political figures, human rights activists, scholars, and concerned citizens.
The Paris conference marks the launch of a once-a-month series of public forums in Washington , D.C. and elsewhere that will be sponsored by the Center for Security Policy and designed to raise the profile – and thereby to help empower – anti-Islamist Muslims. Transcripts of the Paris conference will be available shortly.